Status Report

ISS Science Operations Status Report for week ending August 21, 2002

By SpaceRef Editor
August 21, 2002
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Today and Thursday, selected members of the International Space Station crew
continued to record their experiences for the Crew Interactions experiment.

The experiment, which has been part of every Expedition since the Station
became permanently occupied, will identify and characterize important
interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect the performance of the
crew and ground support personnel. The study examines issues involving
tension, cohesion and leadership roles in Station crews and ground support
teams. Participating station crewmembers fill out the survey on the Human
Research Facility laptop computer and later downlink the data to the ground.

Also today, Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson was scheduled to test a new
Internet-based system designed to improve communications between the Station
crew and payload developers before making the system operational.

On Friday, Commander Valery Korzun will conduct a pre-spacewalk session with
the Pulmonary Function in Flight (PuFF) experiment. His spacewalk, which
had been scheduled for this Friday is now re-scheduled for Monday, August
26. The low-pressure environment of a spacesuit can cause nitrogen in the
blood to form bubbles. Additionally, little is known about how the lungs
can be affected by long-term exposure to microgravity. PuFF measures
changes in the evenness of gas exchange in the lungs and changes in
respiratory muscle strength. Scientists hope to find new ways to protect
the health of space travelers in the years ahead, and to gain a better
understanding of the effects of gravity on the lungs on Earth. Korzun and
Whitson performed the PuFF tests last Saturday following their spacewalk.
Korzun will perform the test again next Tuesday following his Monday

Crew Earth Observations photography subjects this week included: Angolan
biomass burning, Congo-Zimbabwe biomass burning, the urban area of Beijing,
China, former typhoon Phanfone in the Pacific, and air quality over the
Western Mediterranean.

Experiment operations planned for this week with the Solidification Using
Baffle in Sealed Ampoule (SUBSA) experiment were deferred until the ground
science team completes preparations to resume experiment operations.
SUBSA is investigating manufacturing processes that could yield insights
into semiconductor production on Earth. Impurities, or dopants, in
semiconductors are used to control the opto-electronic properties of the
semiconductor crystal, and the uniform distribution of the dopant is
essential to achieve the desired properties. The goal of SUBSA is to study
the resulting solids formed in microgravity where the motion of dopants
caused by buoyancy forces are greatly reduced, resulting in more even
distribution of the dopants.

The Station crew, working with the ground team, completed its fifth
experiment run last week with SUBSA. Following the 15-hour run on Saturday,
Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson noticed a crack in the quartz sample tube as
she prepared to remove the sample. The tube broke as she removed it.
Whitson used tweezers and other tools to remove the remaining sample tube.

A small quartz piece, from the sample tube floated away but was confined in
the work area of the Microgravity Science Glovebox where SUBSA furnace is
housed. The Glovebox, which features a sealed work area with windows and
built-in gloves, is designed to contain experiments with fluids, flames,
particles and fumes that could otherwise escape into the Station
environment. The science team hopes to resume operations once any stray
particles have been removed from the Glovebox and SUBSA hardware.

The crew continued to monitor experiments and payload facilities on board
during the past week. Automated experiments continuing to operate normally
included the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE),
Protein Crystal Growth Single Thermal Enclosure System (PCG-STES), Advanced
Astroculture (ADVASC), Microgravitiy Acceleration Measurement System
(MAMS), and Space Acceleration Measurement System (SAMS).

Completed science payloads for Expedition Five include: StelSys, Educational
Payload Operations 5, Microencapsulation Electrostatic Processing (MEPS),
and Zeolite Crystal Growth (ZCG).

SpaceRef staff editor.